Rhyme and Reason

A commentary on Dave Mathews Band song Rhyme and Reason by Bobby Thejus 

Oh well oh well so here we stand
But we stand for nothing
My heart calls to me in my sleep
How can I turn to it
‘Cause I’m all locked up in this
Dark place –
And I do not know
I’m as good as dead
My head aches –
Warped and tied up
I need to kill this pain
My head won’t leave my head alone
And I don’t believe it will
Until I’m dead and gone
My head won’t leave my head alone
And I don’t believe it will
Until I’m six feet underground
How long I’m tied up
My mind in knots –
My stomach reels
In concern for what I might do or
What I’ve don
It’s got me living in fear
Well I know these voices must
Be my soul
I’ve had enough I’ve had enough of being alone
I’ve got no place to go
My head won’t leave my head alone
And I don’t believe it will
Until I’m dead and gone
My head won’t leave my head alone
And I don’t believe it will
Until I’m six feet under ground
Six feet under
In y grave
Lying wired and shut and quiet in my grave
Leave me here
Leave me here to waste here
So young and here I am again
Talking to myself
A T.V. blares
Oh man
Oh how I wish I didn’t smoke
Or drink to reason with my head
But sometimes this thick confusion
Grows until I cannot bear it at all
Needle to the vein
Needle to the vein
Take this needle from my vein my friend
I said
My head won’t leave my head alone
And I don’t believe it will
Until I’m dead and gone
My head won’t leave my head alone
And I don’t believe it will
Until I’m dead and gone
In my grave
Lying cold in my grave
The reason –
My reason
Take my head off this terror
The fearing won’t come back
I can’t see
My mind’s all wiped clean
The needle
Make my great escape
I seem caught in time
My head leaves me behind
Body fall cold
And I see heaven

The song begins with an interesting line that portrays the present culture – “Oh well oh well so here we stand, but we stand for nothing.” A typical – postmodern contemporary – situation; we stand up for many things but we rarely know why. We rarely know why because Postmoderns don’t believe in history. They don’t know why they do what they do. For instance, we touch our elders’ feet with one hand and with the other drag them to an old people’s asylum. We help people even if it means murdering them! We do much, but accomplish little. We loathe the word commitment. We don’t realize that the Taj Mahal is not a mere symbol of love but of a man’s deep commitment to his lover- his wife! We don’t know what it means to burn our boats or to count the cost (Luke 14:28). We want the authentic life of our forefathers but we don’t want the commitment that comes with it.

The cry, “I’m living in fear … I’ve had enough of being alone… I’ve got no place to go”, is more common to us than ever before. The word Boredom doesn’t seem to have existed in any ancient language. It appears to be an invention of the modern world. There is a deep sense of despair in our hearts; be it a consequence of our choices or with the help of media and the confusing voices we hear from all over. “Live in” relationships go against our very nature. And when we go against our nature we don’t become mature men; rather we become pansies. The result is we are left alone, like a tiger stripped of its stripes. A man/woman can wail and cry and become something other than what he/she ought to be, but they will always live in fear all alone. Man has this instinct to be committed to the glory of ‘the true, the good and the beautiful’, but in his struggle for unbridled-freedom he has committed himself to warped images of this glory (Luke 17:23). As Pullman (author of His Dark Materials trilogy) suggests, when Eve decided to disobey God, she celebrated and gave birth to freedom. We have exercised our freedom and given birth to a strange commitment to despair leaving us with no place to go. All along our souls bear the guilt and shame of the pleasures our bodies crave. “In concern for what I’ve done, it’s got me living in fear; well I know these voices must be my soul”

For some, “The needle makes my great escape… My head leaves me behind…Body falls cold and I see heaven”, seems to be the solution. All our pains and our struggles are real: for some a creation of their own devises, for others a result of another and for some we don’t know why. We go through all sorts of pain and struggle. Our minds and our hearts reel, opposing each other at every turn, leaving us desperate and flustered. What we need most, we never get. People are repelled by us. In our struggle for an authentic life some of us replace our real commitments with distorted shadows. In our search for a home we try live-in–relationships. In our search for a spouse we try a partner. In our search for healing we try abusing drugs. In our search for freedom we try loneliness. In our search for joy we play with entertainment and end up bored. In our search for love we try to find it in ourselves and become insane self-confident maniacs! In our search for a better life we try suicide; but in our suicide we will not find heaven. We were near it but far away from approaching it. John 12:35-36

It is obvious that the song writer’s ultimate aim is heaven. But we have tried to find it in the abuse of the true the good and the beautiful, not realizing that heaven came down and dwelt among us. It is He who found us! And now he is willing to live in us. If only we would die to all our attempts of finding it in obscure places, and would simply approach Christ and His cross, we would find what we were looking for all along – a heaven here on earth! John 3:16-21


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